Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

March 5, 2009 -

A non-gaming case currently before the United States Supreme Court stands to have a massive impact on the video game industry.

The case is American Needle vs New Orleans Saints, et al. Should the Supreme Court find in favor of plaintiff American Needle, an apparel manufacturer, EA's exclusive NFL licensing deal and Take-Two's third-party exclusive with Major League Baseball could be found in violation of federal antitrust (i.e., monopoly) statutes. Such a determination would free other publishers to make games based on the NFL and MLB.

SCOTUSblog, which tracks happenings before the Supreme Court, reports on the case:

The NFL used to license American Needle to sell hats that bore the logos, the names or other insignia of pro football teams... But, in 2000, the NFL opted to solicit bids for an exclusive license to produce caps and other headwear.  Reebok won the bidding, and in 2001 got an exclusive ten-year license.  American Needle’s license was not renewed. So it sued the NFL, all of its teams, NFL Properties, and Reebok.

American Needle’s case was thrown out by lower courts... “The [Supreme] Court has stated, on more than one occasion,” American Needle asserted, “that application of the Sherman Act to professional sports teams is wholly consistent with Congressional inent...”

What happened to American Needle in relation to apparel is essentially what happened to Take-Two in regard to its excellent NFL2K series when EA scored its exclusive license with the NFL in 2004.

Attorneys for EA are clearly tracking the American Needle case. The phrase "American Needle" appears nine times in a transcript of arguments made by attorneys last November in Pecover vs. Electronic Arts, a class-action suit which alleges that consumers were hurt by EA's NFL exclusive (see: Spirited Courtroom Argument Highlights Madden Monopoly Case).

SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court has requested government lawyers to weigh in on the case.


Comments

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'm Rooting for the Exclusivity Deals to be dropped by the supreme court(That'll Teach EA and T2 a lesson for hogging the NFL and MLB)

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

This wouldn't be a good thing.

It's the same as saying that McDonalds has no right to the Big Mac.

Private Bussiness is private the last thing we need in this time is more branches of government saying what can and can't be done, and guess what this works for these industries since the NFL,EA, or Take 2 haven't asked for a bailout.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'd love to see these exclusive deals get dissolved. Take Two has done an awful job with the MLB license on 360, and I'd love to see "The Show" come to 360. 

Bottom line is that competition creates better products. I'm all for that.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

Um, shouldn't the NFL have the right to say who can and can't use their IP?

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

Wouldn't the NFL teams, players, and logos, fall under IP? IP holders have a right to give exclusive rights to anyone they so choose.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I think the use of the players, teams and logos for the purpose of a football-themed... thing... is protected by the IP.

| XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste | Needs a thesaurus. |

| XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste |

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I believe it counts as IP, but EA has exclusive deals with the NFL and the NFLPA (as well as the coaches union I believe); the former for the use of the team logos, stadiums, etc. and the latter to use the names of the players.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I think the Supreme court Justices are going to make fun of the fact that EA held a monopoly on NFL games Heres the possiblility

John Roberts: We the court has found that American needle has been found in violation of the Sherman and Clayton Acts and therefore we demand that the company should be split up

EA & T2: We're F@**ED, we may have to share the license of MLB and NFL now

END TSG-esce courtroom reenactment

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

"Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony"

Hm... I guess they can make a point there. I wonder what statements those are though.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I don't think that the EA+NFL or 2K+MLB suit would work out because it's a temporary exclusive. On top of that, I belive for any anti-trust suit to pass through the product being tested must also prove to be necessary for moderen society. The previous anti-trust suits are on the following of two basis. Lack of competition+Need for modern society. With Oil there is an obvious need for that product in modern society, with phones there was a need for it in modern society, and for OS software there is a need for it in modern society. NFL and MLB does not fill this area, so I highly doubt it will go through.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

The deal before the courts involves a temporary exclusive, though.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'm sure there will be a counterclaim though if it doesnt pass.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

which means this probebly wont pass.

 
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NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.latino-review.com/news/exclusive-viola-davis-bags-amanda-waller-role-in-suicide-squad Latino Review says Viola Davis will be Amanda Waller. History of Latino Review says "wait for a REAL news site to confirm".12/17/2014 - 10:48am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/17/7407869/assassins-creed-unity-glitch-broken-problems-xbox-one-patch -Facepalm- Screwup means Assassin's Creed Unity's patch is the 40GB full game on Xbox One12/17/2014 - 10:17am
PHX Corphttp://www.theverge.com/2014/12/16/7401769/the-mpaa-wants-to-strike-at-dns-records-piracy-sopa-leaked-documents Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet12/17/2014 - 10:05am
E. Zachary KnightA Game being on Greenlight is not an endorsement of said game by Valve, Steam or anyone related to Valve or Steam. Greenlight is a combined sales pitch to Steam and its users.12/17/2014 - 9:51am
E. Zachary KnightThe Life cycle of a Greenlight game: A game gets made->Developer puts it on Greenlight->Gamers vote for it->Valve decides it is worthy of a Steam release->Game is sold on Steam. While the game is merely on greenlight, it is not available for sale on Steam12/17/2014 - 9:50am
InfophileGreenlight games may in the future be sold through Steam. A game there may be "greenlit" and then sold on Steam proper, or it may not, and never actually be sold on steam. That quote refers to them selecting some games from Greenlight which they will sell12/17/2014 - 9:39am
MechaTama31"Today we’ve Greenlit another batch of 50 titles to advance through Steam Greenlight, and be offered worldwide distribution via Steam." Am I missing something here? Because it sounds like Greenlight games are sold through Steam.12/17/2014 - 9:00am
MechaTama31From the Greenlight page: "Browse through the entries here and rate up the games you want to see made available via Steam"12/17/2014 - 8:59am
MechaTama31Greenlight games aren't sold through Steam? Then what exactly *is* Greenlight?12/17/2014 - 8:58am
prh99I just wish if they are going to curate (as selective and rare as that is) for content, they'd do little for quality (like does this game actually function at all). Personally, I avoid GreenLight and Early Access like the plague because of lax standards.12/17/2014 - 1:34am
prh99EZK: My point wasn't that they are responsible for people's purchase decisions, but that their policies and criteria for approval needs some work. As far as refunds go, you know it's bad when EA has a better policy. EA, former worst company in America.12/17/2014 - 1:21am
Andrew EisenAnd 'Hatred' is back on Steam Greenlight. No comment from Valve so far as I've seen.12/17/2014 - 12:14am
Consterjames: I know what the question says.12/16/2014 - 10:26pm
E. Zachary Knightprh, considering Greenlight games are not sold through Steam, unless accepted by valve, there is no reason to blame Valve for you or someone else buying a game listed in it.12/16/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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